Due to 'complete' home purchase on Monday.. but no planning docs...

20 Mar 2007
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United Kingdom
I was browsing the councils website and decided to check for the planning documents for the new house my sister purchasing. Shockingly, there has been no planning application for the attic conversion (a big conversion with a left attic and a right attic) and whilst consent was sought for the rear and side extensions - no completion certificate was ever issued.

Her solicitor is very odd. When asked about the documents. She just said that the vendor had forwarded all the planning documents to the estate agent and she had not been privy to them herself. She said the attic does not even need planning permission anyway.

My sister is due to complete on Monday and she is unsure if she should go ahead. Should she insist on the documentation? Is a completion certificate a vital document? A close friend who had similar issues, and is now having to spend a pretty penny putting right a shoddy and illegal conversion by the previous owner. ANy advice would be most appreciated.

K Thx
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The attic conversion is unlikely to have needed planning permission.
It would have needed a Building Regulations application. But the lack of a Certificate of Completion is not
really a big deal.
It's highly unlikely the council would be able to do anything now, even if Building Control were not told about the work at the time.
These things usually become just a paper-shuffling exercise between solicitors, so bumping the legal fees up, but in the real world,
they don't have any real consequences.
Presumably a surveyor has not flagged up any serious issues about the attic?
Just to add to tony’s post your sisters solicitor should have (in her possession so that they can be sent to your sister) any certification or permissions that she obtained from the council and these should have been obtained via search rather than via the estate agent.

But yea chances are the loft didn’t need PP and unless it was very recently there’s nowt anyone can do about it now.
You could have that rare breed of conveyance solicitor who is knowledgeable and practical and knows that planning permission is not required for all loft conversions. But they should know about building regulations and completion certificates.

Your sister needs to confirm if building regulation approvals are in place, more so than planning permission - mainly because that would have the biggest impact on the sale price.

I take it, no survey was done apart from the lenders basic valuation survey?

And indemnity insurance won't help if certain works are incomplete - that will be a future cost for the purchaser, hence the impact on sale price.
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I believe sometimes when you're buying a house a there's no building regs approval sometimes the seller pays for a one off 'indemnity' policy. I've not done it myself but have heard others have done something like this. I've just had a google and found this... http://www.trethowans.com/site/libr...gulation_consent_why_legal_indemnity_policies

It's better than nothing!
No it's rarely any use, all it would cover is the legal costs if the local authority were to actually prosecute, it doesn't cover the costs of any work that may be required should the local authority actually take action andthere be a need for remedial work. And furthermore you're pretty much immune from prosecution for building regulations stuff unless there's a structural issue. Sorry but you wasted your money, or the seller did but it did earn the solicitor a nice little commission.

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